BY WILLIAM C. HENRY The best part about creating this fantasy face-off was coming to the realization that determining its outcome wasn’t going to be the slam dunk this old-school liberal had anticipated. As you would no doubt agree, discovering where a politician actually stands on a given issue (as opposed to where they say they stand) can be a pretty eye-opening experience, sometimes revealing previously arrived at conclusions to have been ill-informed rushes to judgement unsupported by facts on the ground. Although I regard this as by far the “best available” match-up for the discerning American voter, the chance of a real-life Presidential final between these two semi-decents is about the same as Denis Diderot (yeah, I figured you’d ask that) ever receiving the universal recognition and admiration he so indubitably deserves. That being said, here’s where Obama and Paul stand on the issues that matter.
Economic Priority: Opening parry to Obama (at least his intentions are in the right place). Although I don’t believe the original ”stimulus” was a complete failure, I do acknowledge it was badly mishandled (infrastructure spending only amounted to $100 billion of the $787 billion total package). Nevertheless, Obama favors another one (although not nearly large enough) and so do I. This time it should be limited to infrastructure renewal exclusively (not likely), and spending allocation decisions should rest solely in the hands of the President or his personally delegated representative (but they probably won’t). Why? Hell, he’s the only one who’ll be blamed or applauded for its ultimate outcome anyway. Everything else pales in importance to putting Americans back to work, and, trust me, Paul’s admitting to a fondness for “government largess” will never be the subject of a Fox News Special Report.
Foreign Intervention: Pretty convincingly Paul. Get us the hell out of foreign wars; don’t even think about getting involved in one unless our very existence as a nation can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be imperiled; and, bring our troops home from every one of the hundreds upon hundreds of useless, archaic, indefensible, budget-squandering outposts we senselessly maintain throughout the world. You must have been reading my mind, Ron.
Drug Sanity: Not even close. A near triumph for Paul. Hard to believe, but it just may be that there isn’t a Republican/conservative politician (and a whole lot of Democrat/liberal ones as well) alive that can even shine Ron’s shoes when it comes to expounding a common sense decency-based drug policy. He’s an oasis of clarity in the desert of American political leadership on the subject.
Homeland Security: Ticker-tape parade for Paul. I think this quote of Ron’s pretty much sealed the deal: “When you have a war — whether it’s a war against drugs, war against terrorism, war overseas — the mentality of the people changes and they are more willing to sacrifice their liberties in order to be safe and secure. So, yes, right after 9/11 my reaction was, ‘it’s going to be a lot tougher selling liberty.’ But, I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m still in the business of selling liberty and the Constitution and there’s still a lot of enthusiasm for it. I might have been too pessimistic immediately after 9/11 because in a way, it has caused this reaction and this uprising in this country to say, ‘Enough is enough. We don’t need more Patriot Acts, we don’t need more surveillance of our people. We don’t need national ID cards. We don’t need the suspension of habeas corpus. What we need is more freedom.’”
Civil Liberties: Obama = FAIL. This call was more difficult than you might imagine. They both receive pretty good ACLU scores, but not necessarily of equal luster in the same areas. It’s worth noting that Paul has not stated his position regarding “voter suppression,” and Obama receives a zero rating on Ending A Surveillance State. I’m giving Ron the benefit of the doubt on voter suppression (I’ve no reason to believe he wouldn’t abhor it), and he’s up “four-ty/love” in the surveillance game.
Gov’t. Accountability/Whistleblowing: Not even close. It’s a well documented fact by now that on these particular issues (along with his draconian drug tactics), Barak has shown himself to be one of the shiftiest, card-up-the-sleeve, four-flushing, lying cheats in American Presidential history. Generally speaking, in these realms at least, everything Obama is, Paul isn’t.
By this time you’re probably figuring I’ve decided to hang the Gold Medal around Ron Paul’s neck–but you would be wrong. I’m giving him the Bronze. Why? I don’t know. Call it a gut feeling, a premonition, or just an all-consuming fear of seeing anyone right of center set up shop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I’m still convinced that, warts and all, Obama’s pluses are a far better bet than the disastrous risks, both known and unknown, posed by a conservative of any stripe inhabiting the White House at a time of ever-progressing plutocratic power consolidation.
That being said, you’re certainly entitled to know about some of the game-changing “difficulties” I have with Mr. Paul: First, I don’t like the should-be-left-to-the-
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.
1894 = The number of Americans killed in action in Afghanistan.
100,000 plus = The number of Americans seriously wounded in Afghanistan including those requiring extensive long-term treatment for severe mental trauma.
0 = The number of financial industry kingpins indicted for having committed the most massive FRAUD in American history and wrecking the global economy, plunging untold millions into lives of misery and deprivation.